Charter school critics argue that when students like Renee are allowed to flee their district assignments, it hurts the kids left behind, whose parents often lack the knowledge or motivation to look outside the zone. They also complain that traditional schools are losing valuable classroom space as charters move into their buildings.Put another way, charter school critics have the naive hope that the motivated kids, or the kids motivated by their parents, will serve as good examples for the rest. It is more likely that the rest, in good crab-in-the-bucket fashion, will drag the motivated kids down to their level. And burn out the teachers in the process.
It seems as though I repeat myself a lot. And yet, the other approaches people suggest fail.
The reason U.S. News sells those college guides, and parents hire brain coaches, and your good public school comes bundled with a granite counter-top is precisely because more than a few aspirants to the upper middle class understand the toxic effect of disengaged, hostile, unprepared, surly, or simply dysfunctional people. Stratification is emergent, and until advocates for so-called social justice grasp that reality, the life of the poor will not improve.Competition from charter schools, the Reason essay notes, make the traditional schools better. As, in its own way, does competition among districts. But whingeing about school funding is easier than rooting out the disengagement and dysfunction.